WotW Awards Season 5: Best Action Scene – Preliminary Round

season5 awards

For today’s preliminary round in the Watchers on the Wall Awards, we’re celebrating another aspect of Game of Thrones that the show is known for: action scenes. And there was no lack of them in season 5, from the icy waters of Hardhome, to the sandy shores of Dorne, to the chaos of Daznak’s Pit.

As with all categories, the preliminary contenders were submitted by readers in the initial announcement post and gathered up for your voting.

The Rules: This is the preliminary round! Narrow this selection down to the top 5 contenders. In order to find your top 5 picks for Best Action Scene we’re asking that each of you select up to FIVE nominees from the poll. You can choose fewer if you like, but you cannot choose more than 5.

At the end of 72 hours (Friday 9/11/15 at 12:00PM EDT), whichever five scenes have the most votes will continue on to the final round. (Note: in the finals, you will only have one vote to cast in each category!)

The results will be revealed when it’s time to vote for the final winner of Best Action Scene, in a few weeks. Debate the possibilities and vote for your favorite choices

*Reminder: you may choose up to five nominees in this poll!*

You still have a few hours left to vote on Best Visual Effects Scene so head on over to that post to VOTE!

93 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. The Flaming Stag,

      different people, different opinions.
      And frankly I didn’t think that fight was as bad as some people make it out. When I first watched it, I tought people would like it, My friends tought it was preaty good, only complain I heard was on the internet.

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    2. The Stone Men attack Jorah and Tyrion’s boat

      Chased from the inn, Brienne makes quick work of Vale soldiers

      Jaime and Bronn vs. the Dornish guards in the dunes

      Jon battles a White Walker one-on-one at Hardhome

      Jorah takes on other gladiators in Daznak’s Pit

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    3. Jon battles a White Walker one-on-one at Hardhome
      Jorah takes on other gladiators in Daznak’s Pit
      Arya crosses Meryn Trant off her list.
      Barristan Selmy goes down like a boss
      Amid the mass slaughter at Hardhome, Jon fights his way to the hut

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    4. my choices.

      -Jorah fighting in the pit
      -Arya killing trant
      -SS vs Jaime/Bron (I myself liked it)
      -Brienne chase
      -Tyrion and Jorah against Stone men

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    5. The Flaming Stag,

      Joke nomination, probably

      For me it’s between Jon’s fight with the Walker and Selmy’s last stand; I’ll probably vote for the former, since Harington is (for obvious reasons) overall a lot more physically convincing in his fight (McElhinney wasn’t bad, by any means).

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    6. Rewatching season 1, I think a lot of the action scenes would get shit from people here now. People have gotten really picky. I don’t think the Water Gardens fight was that bad. I liked it when I watched it. I really think the internet has played a role in affecting a lot of people’s opinions about it. I’m not saying it’s the greatest fight scene, mind you. It’s nothing compared to the best of the season. But the loathing for it feels blown out of proportion.

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    7. Sean C.,

      Joke nomination, probably

      Is it really that hard for you, to understand, that just because you didn’t like that scene (or any other scene/storyline, for that metter), it doesn’t mean other people didn’t like it.
      I like it, my friends liked it, no one I know complained about it.

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    8. It is a good scene. And there’s no rule that an action scene has to be hardcore in order to be nominated. You can interpret a category any way you please, within the rules.

      Kind of like people nominating the Sand Snakes’ fight for best comedic scene.

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    9. I also think the internet has played a role in affecting a lot of people’s opinions about many things in GoT.

      For example, now everybody loves Hardhome. It was great episode, don’t get me wrong, but I think that there are many fans who like that episode because it is popular to like it, not because they really feel that way.

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    10. My whole family loved the Sand Snake fight scene, to be honest. For me, it simply was just a tad boring and underwhelming after all the “behind the scenes” hype… but that hype is external to the actual narrative of the show, to be fair.

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    11. They all were pretty bad, imo. Even Jon’s swing and ice disintegration of the White Walker–so posed, and he just hovers there, waiting for the director to shout ‘cut’. At least step back, react to the blow.

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    12. Sue the Fury,

      Sansa looked so great with dark hair. It is a shame they changed colour of her hair again.

      He looked like a Stark, and for the first time ever I could imagine her being Lady of Winterfell.

        Quote  Reply

    13. Wun Wun vs wights
      Jon fighting a White Walker
      Brienne vs Littlefinger’s guards
      Barristan’s last fight (technical stunt choreography was quite well done)
      Tyrion and Jorah attacked by Stone Men

      The Stone Men fight was very impressive – I mean, check out the behind the scenes video for it. When that Stone Man jumps into the river behind them, a stunt man ACTUALLY made a 20 foot jump into the river (they had to dredge it deeper so he wouldn’t get hurt). Then, the rest of the fight was actually filmed in a converted pool they repurposed (it’s very difficult to get a camera onto a small boat in the middle of a river). Then, when Tyrion gets dragged under water, Dinklage is *actually* dragged under water….they had stunt men hiding off-camera in scuba gear with extra oxygen tanks for him and the Stone Men actors.

      But “best action scene” is a combination of 1 – visceral/emotional action, 2 -technical difficulty of the shots, and 3 – fight choreography complexity.

      Jon Snow’s fight with the White Walker wasn’t complex choreography but the “direction” of the scene, cinematography-wise, and story-wise, was good. The Stone Men scene was VERY difficult to shoot, technical challenge, even if the choreography isn’t a big martial arts showcase. Wun Wun was impressively done/choreographed given that the stunt man is acting against CGI wights.

      …but we’ll narrow it down later.

        Quote  Reply

    14. Luka Nieto,

      I also thought people would like that scene. I was so wrong. LOL

      Now, it is popular to hate SS and they can do whatever they want with them in S6, they can have greatest lines ever, people will still hate them.

        Quote  Reply

    15. Luka Nieto,

      Also most of those who complain are book-readers, who compare that scene with whats in the books, instead of judging it by itself

      And while I found the fight to be good, not as bad as the internet makes it be, but not outstanding eiter, same with the SS in general. But one of my friends really liked the SS..really liked. I didn’t.

      But I don’t really like my brothers wife too, but I don’t question why he likes her. (preaty poor comparasion, but they are visiting me today, so the idea just came to me)

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    16. Sue the Fury:
      Rewatching season 1, I think a lot of the action scenes would get shit from people here now. People have gotten really picky. I don’t think the Water Gardens fight was that bad. I liked it when I watched it. I really think the internet has played a role in affecting a lot of people’s opinions about it. I’m not saying it’s the greatest fight scene, mind you. It’snothing compared to the best of the season. But the loathing for it feels blown out of proportion.

      While not “terrible” it was substandard. Problematic shoot, and weapons randomly change hands between shots.

      The biggest problem though is that it wasn’t just a fight scene – it was treated as the climax of the Dorne subplot.

      So it’s more that….it was kind of like a microcosm of what was wrong with the Dorne subplot: it wasn’t given as much production focus as other parts of the season, and could have been a lot better if they simply refined it more.

        Quote  Reply

    17. The Dragon Demands,

      I can agree with that. The Dornish plot would’ve been so much better with just 5 to at most 10 minutes more of screentime (to show us more Doran and more Sand Snakes, in particular), and some refinement to the placement of certain story beats (the whole subplot could’ve started later, so that the climactic fight scene was at least near the climax of the season.)

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    18. I liked the Sand Snake fight – not enough to vote for it but it would have been my 6th pick.

      Luka Nieto,

      One Unsullied friend commented on the contrived writing of all of them wanting to kidnap Myrcella at the same time but he loved the choreography of it.

        Quote  Reply

    19. Dragonslayer,

      The logic of the scene would’ve worked better with just a few adjustments —Bronn and Jaime should’ve infiltrated at night, taken Myrcella from her bed, and Ellaria and the Sand Snakes then could notice them, acelerating what should’ve been Ellaria’s otherwise more sensibly laid out plans which we would’ve been privy to, resulting in the fight we saw.

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    20. Luka Nieto,

      See that my complain too, what we needed is not less Dorne, but only 7-10 more min of screen-time.

      But at the end of day, there has always been 1 storyline who gets kicked to the side.
      Dany in qarth S2
      Arya with the hound, wich I found very good, but it was obvious they tried to drag it to the end of the season. So they can start Bravos in S5
      There was one in S3 one, but can’t remenber it right now.

        Quote  Reply

    21. Luka Nieto,

      I think they needed some scenes with Ellaria and SS, where we can sympathize with them, where he can understand their revenge plot, where we can see what Oberyn meant to them.

      I don’t think we needed more Doran. We needed his speech, and I believe we will get that in S6 and I don’t know why they used Myrcella death to end that storyline.

      Show-only fans just didn’t get the sense that Dorne has a purpose in this story. Not yet.

        Quote  Reply

    22. Mihnea,

      Maybe Theon’s torture? Some people complained that it dragged with no apparent purpose for too long. In the end it happened to have a purpose, but the Unsullied watchers couldn’t have known that at the time.

        Quote  Reply

    23. 1-Jon battles a White Walker one-on-one at Hardhome (Kit Harington is a great physical actor. Everybody focuses on the face and how well an actor portrays emotion, which is no doubt important. But if you can do that and swordfight like pro and really sell exhaustion and physical pain, etc, etc… Well that’s significantly more impressive to me.

      2-Arya killing Trant (No words, amazing!!)

      3-Tyrion and Jorah against Stone Men
      4-Wun Wun vs Wights
      5- Brienne vs Littlefinger’s guards

        Quote  Reply

    24. – Jon battles a White Walker
      – Jorah in Daznak’s Pit
      – Jaime and Bronn vs. Dornish guards
      – Barristan Selmy goes down like a boss
      – Wun Wun stomps, tosses and bludgeons wights

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    25. Jon vs. Whitewalker
      Jorah and Tyrion vs. Stonewalkers
      Jaime and Bronn vs. Dornewalkers (in the Dunes)
      Brienne and Pod vs. Valemenwalkers
      WunwunSMASH!

      Honorable mention to:
      – Jessica Henwick. For training with a whip for months and sadly not being able to fully showcase her skills.

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    26. Jorah takes on other gladiators in Daznak’s Pit
      Jaime and Bronn vs. the Dornish guards in the dunes (only because Jaime leveled up)
      Wights fling themselves off the cliffs at Hardhome and rise again
      The Stone Men attack Jorah and Tyrion’s boat
      Wun Wun stomps, tosses and bludgeons wights at Hardhome

      Didn’t have time to vote in the prelims. Have only recently begun a rewatch & stuck at E5, but I cant believe Jorah’s qualifying pit fight didnt make it.

        Quote  Reply

    27. Jon vs. White Walker – One of the most intense, edge-of-your-seat fights in the entire show with an awesome twist at the end, and my personal pick for best action scene.
      Drogon vs. Sons of the Harpy – This might be better suited to the visual effects category, but I personally think this comes in at a very close second to the Jon vs. White Walker scene. I never get tired of watching Drogon rip that one Harpy in half and blast the others with dragon fire.
      Tyrion and Jorah vs. Stone Men – A very intense (and underrated) action scene. Loved the music during it as well.
      Jorah vs. fighters in Daznak’s Pit – Just a good fight all around.
      Barristan vs. Sons of the Harpy – A sad and controversial end result but the fight itself was still well done.

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    28. Let me guess, no one picked Jaime and Bronn vs the Sand Snakes at the Water Gardens…
      But I hope there was some consideration for Jaime and Bronn vs Dornish soldiers, Jaime using his golden hand against a sword, just badass 😉

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    29. Ser Oromis Locke:

      Honorable mention to:
      – Jessica Henwick. For training with a whip for months and sadly not being able to fully showcase her skills.

      I agree, poor Jessica Henwick, same for Keisha CH for learning wushu fighting, such a shame their skills were not utilized well!

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    30. The Tattered Prince,

      My point…. If he wanted to kill himself there should have been some hints, him being depressed or sad. But there was none, he was happily flirting with Arriane, and was jealous on Dayne. This, in my opinion, is bad writing, as it makes Arys decision to kill himself, apear out of nowhere, and against how he acted 10 min earlier.

      Both in the book, and the show, Dorne needed more scenes/chapters, Arriane could easly had 1 more chapter with Arys, where he was showing second-thought about Arrianne’s plan; The show needed more scenes with the SS and Ellaria, to show exactly what they planned, and give more screen-time to the 3 sisters.

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    31. Mau is correct: Arys died because he was a dumbass (and also totally superfluous and expendable as a character).

      To be honest, Dorne in the show isn’t that much worse than in the books really. It’s the most boring, pointless sideshow so far. They should’ve cut the whole Queenmaker plot that went nowhere and just stuck to developing Doran who is clearly the MVP of the whole Dorne arc.

      I guess show Dorne has that awful “bad pussy” line… but honestly, how much worse is it than “I am of the night”? I rolled my eyes at both.

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    32. Robb Snow,

      Thats what bothers me, Arys death had as much impact as those 3 guys dying on the road to the Vale with Tyrion in GOT. he wasn’t a character, he was just a plot devise.
      Don’t even get me started with the ”Darkstar”…..He could have been good, the idea was not bad, but he ended being an emo coward.

      Same with SS in the books, they are hyped by Doran/Hotah to be this dangerous group…..only to get jailed in the 2 chapter, and not apear until the NEXT book.

      This is why I liked the Iron Islands better, the story felt more natural, not forced.
      But I agree with you, Dorne was bad in both versions.

      Funny, Side-note: my father liked the ”Bad p***y” line, he just luaght and said: ”Oberyn was probaly proud with her”

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    33. Arkash:
      Apart from Baristan’s fight, it’s for me a total wun (erm, win !) for Hardhome !

      This!

      Arya murdering the shit out of Meryn Trant was great, but more as a dramatic scene, not in the best action scene category – there wasn’t really much of a fight. I liked the Jamie and Bronn fight against the Dornish soldiers, too and Jorah in the pit was also pretty good, but I can’t nominate any of them over the Hardhome scenes or Barristan going out in style.

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    34. Mihnea,

      Booooo Sand Snakes. They’re so bland and pointless that I forgot to even mention them in my last post.

      The Ironborn storyline is great. I know some people dislike it but it was interesting to learn more about them and see things from their perspective. Vic is also a funny character and I enjoy reading a lot of his inner speech. And don’t even get me started on EURON GREYJOY who is without a doubt one of the most badass characters in the series.

      More than that though, the Ironborn story has a lot more forward momentum than Dorne and it’s clear to me that the Ironborn will be relevant in the endgame to some degree, particularly the Crow’s Eye.

      I’m not even sure where Dorne is going. Doran will obviously have a role to play in a Targaryen restoration, but everyone else is just kinda there. Arianne’s journey to meet fAegon Blackfyre will probably end in disaster or just go absolutely nowhere (kinda like the entire fAegon plot so far). Maybe she’ll contract the grey plague that JonCon will inevitably start.

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    35. Unlike some other categories, this was a fairly easy call:

      3 Nominees from Hardhome:

      –Jon vs. the White Walker

      –White Walkers over the cliff (which will win something, I’d think, though I’m not sure about this one, given the Jon/WW battle. And I don’t think it will win most dramatic moment, as the Night’s King raising his hands might take that. Maybe it’ll win for best Visual Effect.)

      –Wun Wun blasts his way out of Hardhome

      And the others:

      –Barristan Selmy goes down like a boss

      –The Stone Men Attack (another that may not win anything, but probably should)

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    36. caliopesnow: Everybody focuses on the face and how well an actor portrays emotion, which is no doubt important. But if you can do that and swordfight like pro and really sell exhaustion and physical pain, etc, etc… Well that’s significantly more impressive to me.

      Well said. About the only other actor who may surpass Kit Harington in GOT history on this front is Rory McCann, who really fights “in character” so well as The Hound. Of course, those two have gotten the most in the way of action scenes in their time on the show, too.

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    37. I voted for:

      Jon with White Walker
      Jorah in the pit
      Robin Arryn because it was hilarious
      Jaime and Bronn and the Dornish Dune fight
      Stone Men fight

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    38. I think that Doran will be Dany’s ally (in the show) and Euron her main enemy.

      What purpose SS serve I dion’t know. Arianne and fAegon are completely pointless.

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    39. Arya disposes of trant, creepiest & best action scene

      Stone attack tyrion & jorah, 2nd creepiest

      Brienne’s horse chase

      WunWun’s wight beating

      Jon vs white walker

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    40. 1. Jon vs. WW – When it comes to action I think that fight was the high point of the season. Haunting and exciting at the same time and Harington just owns it. Also the way this scene ends with Longclaw smashing the WW to pieces was awesome.

      2. Jaime & Bronn vs. Dornish guards – One of the better moments from Dorne. I really loved this scene with all its humor and action.

      3. The Stone Men attack Jorah and Tyrion – It was great to have a horror moment that wasn’t connected to the White Walkers or wights. Lots of shaky camera, but personally I think it worked. And the music in this scene was one of my favorites from the season – now I can hear it in my mind whenever I happen to think about greyscale or stone men.

      4. Jorah vs. pit fighters in Daznak’s pit – I liked it. I’ve heard some complaints about the scene (not even close to the amount I’ve heard about Jaime&Bronn vs. SS), but I liked it. It was nice to see fighters from different cultures take on each other.

      5. Wun Wun vs. wights – It was hard to choose between this, the Barristan moment and the Brienne&Pod moment. I chose this one however, because I though Hardhome deserved another vote in my list and because, well, we don’t often see giants smashing wights, do we?

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    41. mau,

      Euron is definitely poised to be Dany’s biggest adversary. Moqorro sees as much in his vision. Euron is also colluding with the Warlocks to some degree, and we know how they feel about Dany.

      Things will get very interesting if Euron manages to get whatever it is he wants from the Citadel during the impending Oldtown raid. If he actually manages to take control of one or more of Dany’s dragons, shit’s gonna get real.

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    42. Jon vs Walker: Very cool to see both Jon and Walker shocked at Longclaw action.
      Arya vs Trant: Visceral, and Trant had it coming.
      Stonemen vs Tyrion&Jorah: Loved that this battle comes after the gorgeous Valyria visuals.
      Stannis vs Bolton men: Anything Stannis is good.
      Brienne vs Vale soldiers

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    43. Sue the Fury,

      I watched that scene with a friend of mine. His response while watching:

      “This is the worst fight scene I have ever watched on television”.

      I couldn’t agree more.

      Internet doesn’t turn a good scene into a bad one. Internet consists of people spraying their opinions. Apparantly loads of people disliked the scene. Some didn’t. Thats fine.

      But don’t mistake internet for people

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    44. Ravigotto,

      There were a couple of those this season. One’s the Water Gardens thing, and the other I hated almost as much was Daznak’s Pit, where a group of assassins just stood there until a dragon landed to save only Dany. At that point, they stood around some more, giving her time to pet it. She took off on the dragon, and the said group of assassins let her helpless group of advisers live on.

      I think that was even worse from a rational pov than the Water Gardens, where Jaime and Bronn had a terrible plan, and got caught, as they should have.

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    45. mau,

      I have to disagree with you there. From what I read right after it aired, people knew they had just watched something was pretty incredible. Something that would have been an amazing scene in a movie let alone a TV show. I know I had goosebumps and was completely mesmerized the whole time.

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    46. Greatjon of Slumber,

      I agree, but I have to go with Jerome Flynn slightly before Rory. He makes his fight scenes look so natural and easy while completely maintaining his “meh, who gives a f*ck” attitude while doing it. But regardless, they are both pretty awesome. And yes, Kit was born to be a swordsman, lol.

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    47. 1. John battles a WW
      2. Jorah, Tyrion & the SM
      3. Arya kills off Trant
      4. Water Gardens fight
      5. Selmy being at last the boss

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    48. Mihnea:
      Luka Nieto,

      See that my complain too, what we needed is not less Dorne, but only 7-10 more min of screen-time.

      But at the end of day, there has always been 1 storyline who gets kicked to the side.
      Dany in qarth S2
      Arya with the hound, wich I found very good, but it was obvious they tried to drag it to the end of the season. So they can start Bravos in S5
      There was one in S3 one, but can’t remenber it right now.

      Theon’s torture was more than I could bear at the end of it.
      If I heard “You know nothing, Jon Snow” one more time out of Ygrittes face I would have screamed.

      Those are my two choices. Not that I don’t love both plots, but they just got to be TOO much for my taste.

        Quote  Reply

    49. Maria,

      The plan of the Sand Snakes was even worse 🙂

      Yes, I see what you mean. Dasnak’s Pit, choreocraphically speaking, was well done however. But the scene did suffer from that old ‘lets wait until the hero passes a corner before we start shooting’ vibe.

      The single combats in GoT are usually top-notch though.

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    50. Will be happy with whatever role he is playing as he is a superb actor. I have read all the books (more than once),but I’m also a big fan of the series got it all on DVD(watched them more than once).My only worry is it will all have to come to an end,will probably need counciling when it does lol

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    51. Rygritte:
      … I cant believe Jorah’s qualifying pit fight didnt make it.

      I agree! Next to Kit, Iain Glenn is the most believable in his fighting. He really is so underrated in everything he does on this show.

        Quote  Reply

    52. mau: Yes, for example Ned vs Jaime wasn’t better than SS vs Jaime and Bronn.

      Yeah *winces* probably like one or two others on this board, I understand some basics of using a sword, and the Ned / Jaime fight was a bit of a damp squib for me at the time. It didn’t spoil my enjoyment overall because eh, this is Game of Thrones, we don’t just watch it for people twatting one another with bladed weapons, right?

      Action sequences for me:

      Arya takes out Meryn Trant. I re-watched the scene a little while back to see whether my memory was playing tricks: nope, it really was that grim. Nightmare fuel from start to finish, including with the realisation that Trant’s been set up as a perv throughout the series, too (his deeply unhealthy enthusiasm for beating up the then-adolescent Sansa on Joff’s orders; The Hound darkly informing Arya that he knows men who beat and assault little girls. Yuck).
      Jon fighting the White Walker one-on-one.
      The dead rising again at Hardhome.
      Jorah vs gladiators. Bloody amazing.
      Stannis vs Bolton men. This aspect of his death really made sure it was a fitting end for this character, although he is dying a broken man, with his dreams crushed. He hasn’t given up, and he defeats lesser men at the last. For me it was also a reminder that Stannis has ‘value’ as Stannis, i.e. as a renowned fighter and military commander, not just because he thinks he’s the messiah.

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    53. Ravigotto:
      Maria,

      The plan of the Sand Snakes was even worse

      Dasnak’s Pit, choreocraphically speaking, was well done however. But the scene did suffer from that old ‘lets wait until the hero passes a corner before we start shooting’ vibe.

      This is the Way of fiction, though. Why did individual morons keep on trying their luck with Clegane (nobody tried an arrow; instead, biting him on the shoulder, or challenging him to single combat were preferred)? Why in the name of the gods do people keep trusting Littlefinger, including people who have specifically been warned he is dodgy? It’d be a less interesting story if people thought with their heads.

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    54. I’m amazed that no-one seems to have chosen the scene in Hardhome when Jon is running to the hut. It wasn’t the best by a long shot, but Jon’s 360-degree-spin to hack a wight in half (mid-run) was a highlight for me and definitely top 5. Hardhome all the way! I loved it.

        Quote  Reply

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